Archive for the 'ALA' Category

First, please read the statement ALA released from the Task Force late yesterday (as Task Force members were flying home from DC). Just so you know, ALA staff that are a part of and assisting the Task Force worked on it quite a lot with us, though the entire 20 member task force approved its contents. It is written to address and update everyone related to what the Task Force is working on and has set as priorities given our charge via the ALA Council Resolution that passed at the ALA Annual Conference this summer. Press Release

Second, I will copy and paste below a few comments I left on my facebook page in response to reaction from my linking to the Boing Boing piece today on the Task Force’s work. These are my observations and opinions alone, but they are unadulterated and what I believe in relation to all of this and what ALA and I and YOU can do (with ALA anyway).

Kate Kosturski This is good, Michael, but ebooks and DRM issues have been around for quite a bit of time (well, in the tech world). Why so long for such a task force to be established? I feel as though the community had an opportunity to break new ground in this realm for some time, and just didn’t react until things didn’t go their way.

David Leslie Like Kate said, thanks to the success of iTunes and Amazon, this ship has sailed. The next fight is going to be magazines and journals IMHO.

Michael Porter Kate, I SO agree. I ran for ALA Council because I felt exactly the same way. Before I was “installed” as a Councilor I worked with my (soon to be) fellow Councilors to pass a resolution that had ALA take a stand on these issues….finally. I ran and was elected to ALA’s Executive Board at Annual this summer with this as my primary issue.

Kate Kosturski It is one of the things that frustrates me about this profession – our very reactive approach to advocacy, marketing and issue formation. I do hope you get something done though. I’ll go back to watching my cartoons now (ah the joys of being home sick).

Michael Porter
I absolutely agree we are behind the ball here in some respects. But I am trying to help use what I know to lead. Kate, you are right, but we have things and people in place that are doing all they can to chart a path forward. Please support these people and these efforts. ALA is a org with a rich tradition and deep respect in circles we must have entry into in org to tackle this. So please…

Kate Kosturski When you put it that way, I’ll get behind you. :) (I’m also just very much burnt out from hearing about HarperCollins and ebooks.)

Rosario Garza Agree with Kate and David — ALA is VERY LATE in addressing this issue, which just reinforces the image of it being a stodgy, slow-to-react organization. Have been VERY DISAPPOINTED with the official pronouncements to date.

Michael Porter ‎…keep think, talking and working on this….help be a part of the solution…WE FINALLY HAVE SOLID TRACTION. The work to get these Task Forces up and funded and selected and running has been a LONG while in the making. It is coincidence that recent developments cam e up these past coupe weeks as they did (though clearly again, this was overdue). I was frustrated and have done all I can to work within the system and in outside ways to assist (libraryrenewal.org and my day job at WebJunction). Please, when the site for the Task Force goes live, jump in…help us chart the wisest course forward and, most importantly, all of us…we each will have to do work to make this happen. It will require effort from all of us. Real time and energy and follow though…beyond a blog post or comments.

Also, please understand that this Task Force is not all of ALA. We are a piece of it. We cannot do everything, we cannot act as ALA spokespeople to many degrees. We are simply members trying to work to do the right thing within (and sometimes to expand) the scope of ALA. I know that we all share the same frustrations and concerns you have. It’s why we are trying to take action by diving in more and also trying new things that are outside the ALA system *cough* Library Renewal *cough*”

Finally, later in the afternoon/early evening there has been one last development of note. Again, this is what I (just) posted to my facebook wall. I invite your comments here, there or wherever you think they will reach me most effectively (no comments from the peanut gallery there!):

After multiple urgent conversations and email threads with some folks from both ALA Task Forces working on electronic content access issues (EQUACC and eBook), some senior leadership at ALA and some additional key staff at ALA, we will be have a meeting tomorrow morning to discuss immediate action ALA should consider or take.

I’d ask for your feedback to take to this meeting while at the same time implore you to consider the position of the org, relationships the org must maintain and build and also consider the limitation of the org.

I would also ask that you read the thread below (the Boing Boing) thread. My comments there provide context we must consider. As Eli Neiburger said in a recent Library Renewal post, Outrage is Not Adaptive….even when it is understandable.

Having said this, and trusting your read the thread below (above in this blog post)…how can I best represent libraries tomorrow in that meeting?”

So…yes, this is short notice. And yes, I have already been directly collecting feedback from literally dozens of us in Libraryland to take back to ALA on this…and I have been working with others who are doing the same (including Librarian by Day, Bobbi Newman) to ensure we have done all we can to get traction in appropriate ways at ALA. I’m doing all I can.

So if you are concerned or upset by this entire situation, please ask yourself, Are you doing or willing to do all you can? Am I willing to do that in the most thoughtful and productive ways? Please remember how much easier it is to complain and how very hard it is to DO. So send your suggestions, and if you are outraged be prepared to and committed to do work on this for years. The future of libraries, not just in America, but the world over is truly at stake. Also, remember as you think on this that ALA is not a panacea, they are a piece in this unfolding puzzle. And they can definitely do more and improve, yet we are many pieces in the puzzle together. If we carefully use our voices and power for thoughtful, carefully planned, intentional action we can ensure vibrant libraries in a world dominated by access in electronic formats vs. print or physical formats. We can do this. We MUST do this.

Let the comments and emails commence. And hey, while your at it, wish me and all those folks buried in this luck, patience and understanding. We are pretty wiped out at the moment to be honest and can use the good thoughts and energy.

Lots has happened (of course) with the Task Force and I wanted to provide a live update about where we are. I’m co-chairing the meeting atm so pls pardon typos.:

Yesterday we spent the afternoon breaking into our Working Groups, coming back to report and adjust ideas and plans, and then breaking out and coming together again to refine plans for each group. As a reminder and a way to understand the approach that seems to be forming, here are those working groups again:
Working Groups:
-Environmental Scan
-Electronic content and accessibility
-Model Projects
-Perpetual Licensing
-Public Relations Campaign

During the course of the day, the necessity to communicate what we are working on in a way that is timely and also allows for questions and feedback became something that (very happily) overtook part of our scheduled plan for the day. We unanimously agreed and insisted that we must create a blog/web page very quickly (days NOT weeks). Our plan is to ensure that this page allows for regular updates, allows feedback and can also give folks a chance to be informed, looped in, ask questions, and be heard in a public forum we are all engaged in. It does take time to monitor and respond to all of this and we have much work to do, but we all felt very strongly that even in the face of the being unpaid volunteers in this work, that there is simply no way to do our work effectively without this wider forum.

After we wrapped our work for the day, we all went out for dinner (and, ok, maybe a drink) and talked well into the evening about our working groups and next steps. ALA President Roberta Stevens joined us at dinner and was sure to talk to folks as they needed or wanted to.

In the next days you’ll hear more details and communications as a result of our work. Meantime, on behalf of my fellow Task Force co-chair Linda Crowe and the rest of the Task Force I wanted to thank all of you for the conversations and emails and texts and thoughts you have shared and sent to me and or to the group. We are trying hard to do the best, most wise and productive things we can here and appreciate your input and attention. We believe this issue will shape the future of libraries in the country and the world and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure libraries remain viable, vibrant and integral to society, Democracy and the lives of everyday people the world over.

One last thing to note in this post is that in today’s USA Today, the work of ALA’s Electronic Content Access Task Force was highlighted briefly by ALA President Roberta Stevens.
(Roberta Stevens)”hopes the librarians’ new task force on “equitable access to electronic content” can work collaboratively with publishers: “It’s ultimately in their interests to make books available in libraries — in all formats.”

*update*
-Web site for our task force will likely have:
1. A blog
2. A list of each TF member including their email (this includes eBook Task Force Members as well)
3. A conversation forum on specific topics (likely, though we have to poke around a bit on this idea)
4. May have a Twitter scrolling feed for a hashtag we ask any interested party to use when sharing issues or or links with the Task Force, ALA or anyone interested in the topics attached to the work of the Task Force.

-We will be having a session at ALA Annual on our work. Likely two hours…first hour to update on our work, second hour to break into working groups and talk with individuals.

Here’s a fast overview of what we have talked about so far today and what is on our agenda. We are breaking into working groups (mentioned below) now. The concerns many of you have shared with me were passed on to Task Force members and ALA staff as well. ALA President Roberta Stevens will be at dinner tonight will us and these concerns will be shared with her tonight as well. *whew*

With that, here’s what we have been are working on right now:

ALA Task Force on Electronic Content Access:
I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Group Discussion
-Meeting started with a debrief of the recent developments and conversations in the last couple weeks.
-Need to communicate and include member/interested party updating and communication/conversation.
-Review Charge
-Review Assumptions (things we need to do or think about:
Assumptions:
-Provide a report to Council @ ALA Annual
-Communication *must* be improved
-National PR Campaign will be recommended
-Ask for funding to move TF work forward
-Some issues will be handed off to other ALA units.
-Broad dissemination or retreat’s activities
-Develop a plan to keep membership informed (see above)
-Will seek Council advice
-Advocacy will be recommended.

Working Groups:
Electronic content and accessibility. Develop project plan with charge and funding recommendations
Environmental Scan: Will identify library, author, publishing data. Identify questions that need answers. Define research projects(s) if necessary. Develop charge and funding recommendations.
Model Projects:
Generating a list of projects that are or can be done by libs in the short term: Provide a reason to do each, recommendations, resources need, timeline plan
Perpetual Licensing: Current benefit of licensing as it. Describe models that might be more effective. Look at lending and preservation. Come up with model proposals for publishers.
Public Relations Campaign: Why should we do this? Including various library type perspectives. Identify audiences. Identify assumptions about these audiences and how to communicate with each. Messaging and tagline ideas.
Groups are breaking to work on ideas/plans. Will reconvene late in the afternoon for review and feedback.

21 - Packed and Ready for the Taxi - 24 hours of flickr
Tomorrow I’m off to DC to meet with 22 other ALA members that are serving on the ALA Presidential Task Force on Electronic Content Access. How this came to happen is another blog post in this series, but for now I’d like to share a little more info about this “retreat” and my involvement with the Task Force. As I tell you about our work and my involvement, please do try and think about you and your career and your library. As I said in the previous post, I believe that when you find the things you want to hone in on, you can do just about as much or as little as you want to. So I tell you all of this partly to let you know what I’m up to when I’m not blogging as much as I once did, but I also wanted to talk about it all so that hopefully you’ll feel a lot of “Well heck, if he can do that work for libraries, I can do ______ for libraries”. Because you can. Really, you can. More than you may have imagined. So here are some more details about another part of what has kept me away from blogging very, very regularly:

At this event the Presidential Task Force members and some great ALA staff as well will be honing our plans and deciding what we’ll be researching, writing and doing case studies on as a group. Our larger goal is to help chart a path forward for ALA and American libraries in relation to electronic content and the future of libraries when it comes to electronic content access. Nice size goal, eh?

ALA President Roberta Stevens, incoming ALA President Molly Raphael, and the members of the task force are committed to doing this as best we can, with great intent and care. I am serving as co-chair of this Task Force so if you have thoughts that you would like be sure get passed on and included in our work here, please pass them on to me and I will be sure to include them in the work we do as much as possible.

If you want more info on the task force, there is some info available on ALA Connect via this page.

To go with my previous blog post, I’ll share with you what I said to my fellow task force members over on ALA Connect when we were introducing ourselves to each other. It shows you more of why I’ve been blogging less and also how I’ve tried to put to good use some of the traction that blogging and presenting has given me:

Michael Porter – Why I’m here with you all on the TF
Greetings fellow Task Force members,

Here’s the story of why I’m here with all of you. I’m grateful to have the honor to work and serve with you all and am very excited to see the results we come up with. Our charge is significant, but I also believe it is absolutely critical for our profession. It’s been an interesting journey getting to this point and I hope by the time we start completing work I know your stories as well. Here’s mine:

Though a very long time ALA member, and even past ALA Student Chapter President (Indiana University 1998-99) frankly, I shied away from deeper engagement with ALA for quite a while. While it clearly did many good things to contribute to the profession and to American Libraries, to me it seemed somewhat bogged down in process and bureaucracy and even somewhat exclusive and alienating at some levels, particularly those that could affect significant change. Besides, from a personal perspective, I was excited and grateful to find that there seemed to always be an increasing numbers of opportunities elsewhere opening up for me professionally (day job of course, plus blogging at libraryman.com and even an ever growing list of speaking invitations and writing opportunities).

But in the last five years I’ve been working to listen and learn and study and reach out to people in order to figure out why we (libraries) haven’t been able to be leaders when it comes to electronic community engagement and electronic content access. I believe in a simple (and amazingly complex) equations when it comes to libraries and that is: Libraries = Content + Community. Keeping that belief in mind and focusing my learning and research (I’ve also spend a great deal of time studying business and marketing as well in the past 5-7 years) has been an eye opening and fascinating journey.

During the course of this work, after much careful thought and debate and discussion, I decided to try to get involved more with ALA, in largest part to try and help us better use our organizational and institutional power and influence to address what I have come to believe is the most important issue facing the future or American Libraries: equitable access to electronic content though libraries.

In the coming years and decades consumption patterns for content will move dramatically towards electronic formats, and frankly, even with our tradition of service and access, libraries are largely failing. Commercial entities like iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and in much of Europe, Spotify are the real leaders in electronic content access, all with successful technologies and business models that can both encourage us and point us toward interesting ways of thinking while at the same time revealing potential models or options for service provision going forward.

I ran for ALA Council in 2009 to get involved with ALA to help lead or efforts to address these issues. While not installed on Council till the end of Annual, I worked with two other Councilors (our very own Jackie Rafferty, as well as the indomitable Larry Romans), to write and pass, with my 180 fellow ALA Councils, the very resolution that spawned this task force.

After several months of conversations and much hard work from all of us and from current ALA President Roberta Stevens, as you know, our Task Force formed in December of 2010.

As we lead up to our retreat in early March, and as we continue to work together in the months and even years to come tackling the issues of electronic content access and the future of American Libraries, I am filled with excitement and energy and hope. This Task Force is proof ALA and ALA membership and ALA Council and ALA senior leadership “get” that this issue is very important. It is up to us to now do the work that will result in the appropriate forward movement. I, and many others say “Huzzah!” in the same breath that we say “It’s about time!”. So now lets dive in and get this thing moving! If we succeed we really have a rare opportunity to make an impact on the future of American Libraries though our work here. What could be more inspiring?

Ahhh yes…I was supposed to provide bio information here, not a feel good motivational speech, wasn’t I? Ok then, here goes:

“Michael is a librarian, presenter, author, practical technology fan, and PEZ collector. He has 20 years of experience working in Libraryland and has presented hundreds of times to library staff around the world. His writings regularly appear in major library journals around the world. In 2009 he was selected as a Library Journal “Mover & Shaker”, in 2010 was elected to the American Library Association’s governing Council and in 2011 was also elected to the ALA Executive Board. He currently works at WebJunction.org in Seattle, Washington as their Communications Manager and also serves as the President of Library Renewal, an organization dedicated to research, partnerships and grassroots support for libraries as they struggle to offer electronic content to their users in competitive ways.”

Thanks to all of you. Can’t wait to get to know and work with each of you,

-Michael Porter
Task Force Co-chair

If folks are interested I can keep you posted about how things go with the Task Force here. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peak at the other major thing I’ve been working on in my “free time”, with a crew of other library folks. Its a way YOU can join in and help ensure libraries can offer electronic content access effectively in the coming decades. There is much work to do, and many initiatives to come, but it is a very real movement and things are underway. I’ll have a post up about the efforts here and what has been behind it. It’s been a truly amazing learning experience and there is lots of progress and stories to share that I think you may find motivating and even a bit inspiring. Meantime, check Library Renewal here!
Library Renewal Presentation Pic

I’ll be doing a free webinar March 3rd with my pal Jeff Dawson (Director of the Lester Public Library in Two Rivers, Wisconsin). You should come! “Library Images and Video: Engage, Inspire and Tell Your Story” is the title. Here is a registration link with more details.

Session description:
“In this entertaining and heartwarming presentation you will learn how two librarians teamed up to advocate more effectively (and boldly) while staying true to the personality of the communities, the libraries and the staff they serve. You and your library really can market your services and engage more effectively, and images, video and authenticity can be a key! Learn how you too can use images and video creatively and effectively to inspire Libraryland, engage the communities you serve boost staff morale and get more enjoyment from your job. The stories and lessons in this session will be presented by Jeff Dawson from the Lester Public Library in Two Rivers Wisconsin and by Michael Porter from WebJunction.”

I’ve also got a slew of presentations coming up, including two international presentations next month, which are pretty exciting!

Also, I wrote a summary post for WebJunction about ALA Midwinter, (which was an exhausting blast btw). You can find that post here.

CPLA Intro Slide 2009

Just wanted to tell folks that I am going to be leading a two-day “Management of Technology” PLA/CPLA workshop for the first time next week. While this is a recurring workshop, it is my first time leading it. And I am excited! But what is the class all about and why is it exciting? Well…
“The basic content of the workshops is of equal interest to librarians pursuing certification and librarians desiring to enhance their professional skills in more informal way. The workshops have been designed to be practical rather than theoretical and include interactive exercises and group work. Librarians pursuing CPLA certification will be required to take a post-test and will be asked to do outside readings or complete a project.”
*link to PLA/CPLA courses page*

The course description page says:
“At the end of the program, participants will have developed a basic understanding of the concepts of computer and communications technologies; will be able to link current services to the inventory of technologies; make decisions about sustaining, expanding or phasing out current technologies; identify and evaluate new technologies for implementation; identify the costs, needed skills, and time lines for new and expanded projects; and create an environment of on-going technological assessment and implementation.”

And believe it or not, we will do all of this in two days. And we’ll have a pretty good time doing it. Seriously!

I haven’t publicized this upcoming workshop too much since it is my first time teaching it and I’ve been doing a lot prep work. Yet the class is near capacity, and there are library managers from all over the country (even the Bahamas?!) registered. So, why not really let the cat out of the bag, eh?

And just so you know, if the content sounds useful to your library or region, you can co-sponsor and host the same (or other CPLA) workshops at your library. Details can be found following the above links. For now, it is looking like November in Washington state is your next chance to take this specific workshop (though there are plenty of different CPLA workshops). Unless of course you are up for a very last minute trip to Phoenix very early next Monday morning. ;)

This still is taken from a promotional video about facebook*:
built by the people...for FACEBOOK

REALLY?
Well…maybe not so much.
You see, as things continue to evolve in relation to social networking and information access online, this premise starts to become something startlingly close to propaganda. And it is a premise I am beginning to disagree with more strongly. Why? Simply because facebook is a for-profit company. Their motivation as a business both officially and in practice is to make money. While I am positive there are many lovely people working there that are generous, kind and philanthropically minded, the bottom line is that facebook is a company that is very simply most interested in getting people to use their product; not so they can be useful to society, but so they can make money. And they will use they information they get from you to do just that. With no obligation beyond laws (largely constructed to facilitate money making in business) to guard your privacy. And they are under absolutely no obligation to return anything back to the community. Even if the *say* they are nice and want to do good, they are, in fact not formally bound to taking any actions in this regard.

Now, it is very true that facebook is an amazing service that many of us use, appreciate and are grateful to have access to (myself included). But society needs the opportunity to use these sorts of tools and features in a venue that both understands and guards privacy while at the same time protects information access rather then sells information paths of choice (through ads). An institution that is designed to build up the community it nurtures…you know, like libraries and schools.

And it goes beyond facebook-like tools (for community futures). I would suggest that Google-like tools (for search/basic information discovery) should have the same non-profit, ad-free (for the most part), purely motivated capacity as well for the greatest public benefit.

Problem is, when it comes to the future of libraries, and modern/connected civilization’s access to electronic (and physical) community and information access this is blatantly missing from the too dominant tools in electronic search (arguably, Google) and electronic community building (arguably, facebook). And what is missing is starting to feel more dramatic and chasm-like with each passing month.

Libraries need to continue (and significantly grow) their work as professional guardians of community access to information. This means we (libraries and library professionals) need to be the most highly trained facilitators the world has when it comes to information access, community connections, community interactions, privacy protection and electronic tools. You know, the things at the root of the popularity of tools like facebook and Google. The things libraries have been best at for decades (sans the electronic tools part, which is our only real achilles heel in this scenario).

I wish both information professionals and society at large would really seriously think about this. And then act on it in an organized fashion. College professors, primary school teachers, parents, politicians, students and anyone else concerned about the positive growth of humanity should think about this. The “market” does not always dictate what works best for society and this is an instance that requires larger forces than “the market” to intercede. If that doesn’t happen, because of Google-ish and facebook-like tools, our free, unbiased access to information and community stands at risk. There is a potential crisis brewing here and there are not enough people talking about solutions to this crisis in the context mentioned in this post.

It becomes more clear to me with every passing month: some amalgam of social networking tools (like facebook) and for profit search tools (like Google) should be a non-profit that helps people along in their community and information access journeys. All the while guarding their privacy in ways facebook and Google would never dare. Perhaps opt-in’s for users to accept ads could be built into that system to generate revenue to support the system, but in a less integrated way that didn’t affect workforce in the manner it currently does, particularly on facebook at the moment.

So far, facebook has been thumped on here, but Google is in the same boat. Like almost all of you, I use Google almost every day as well. And I am grateful for Google. But words like “Don’t be evil” as a corporate “Code of Conduct” legally means NOTHING (as opposed to a library’s mission statement and governance structure) If you do believe Google cares about ideals more than money, ask who controls their purse strings. Or look at the official Google URL the describes their code: http://investor.google.com/conduct.html. investor.google.com tells us quite clearly where their corportae priorities exist. And what their official mission and business plan entails. Compare Google’s “Code of Conduct” to ANY mission statement** at a Public Library and ask yourself: “Who do YOU want to control and steer you along as you seek information?” Which point of view would most people choose to support given this information?

Misleading content like that in the facebook video above and things like the Google Librarian Librarian projects hold more potential threat than it would first seem. At recent ALA conferences the Google booth was a very popular stop. Many librarians eagerly made videos about how great Google was for libraries…and then *poof* Google disappears from Libraryland for almost a year on their project blog and are nowhere to be found at this years ALA conference. It is that we aren’t importnat enough customers to get Google to stick with us? Did they get what they wanted from us (support) until they didn’t need it anymore? Each side has it’s perspective, but I assure you, Google attends the conferences it feels it needs to. They certainly aren’t staying away because they are short on funds. It most certainly is, at the very least a curious case of unexplained absence. Not the thing to do in the electronic information and community access environment we find ourselves today. It seems that if Google clearly understood this and did have their mission at the front of their minds, they would have thought this through more carefully and acted accordingly.

To this information professional and electronic community activist, it comes down to this: Google and facebook are both businesses, out to make money. Libraries exist to serve their community with information access and community connection opportunities. If individuals or corporations like Google, facebook, etc, really want to get good things done with community, and if you truly care about community and information access, I would implore you to work with library and information professionals, library schools and organizations like OCLC and ALA. Give them resources, support their work with what you are good at, bind yourselves intimately to their success. THAT would do no evil! Most importantly I would ask you to support your local library. And do so in a way that guarantees that participation as long as your company thrives. THEN I will think about giving you wider support and endorsement and not just think of you as a case study in what Libraryland needs to do to succeed without being taken advantage of and potentially usurped by you. Technology is a tool, and we simply mustn’t allow libraries to become a tool that gets less and less useful as it is usurped by a tool that is guided simply by money, with no permanent obligation to give back. That is one of the deepest societal tragedies I can imagine and its consequences would truly be severe and horrible.

*facebook image taken from this video. It appears you are required to be a registered user to view this video.

**Yep, that is a Google search result link.

—————
Now playing: Beck – Youthless

October 2007 SLJ: We're In There!

Our Posse in the October Issue of School Library Journal. Well, teeny parts of our posse. Also, SLJ staff tells me: “we’re sending a special edition newsletter on 2.0, that includes this short piece”. The posse approves.
Original pic they so politely asked to use. Hi Rochelle!:
ALA 2007 218

From “my” Public Libraries Magazine editor (actually DLK and I write this together so “our” editor is a better way to say it)”, comes this for your consideration:

“the January/February issue is a *theme* issue so the feature articles will all focus on one topic. This time the topic will be Services to Teens. So, if at all possible, please try to tailor your columns to that subject for the Jan/Feb 2008 issue.”

But I’m not a YA librarian. Neither is DLK. So, we need help from the experts. We write “The Internet Spotlight” column, and are interested in getting feedback from real life librarians out there dealing with Teen/YA Services in their everyday work. If you are one of those folks and would like to be included as a quote/contributor to this issues column do this:

Reply in the comments *or* send me an email explaining what your “Internet Spotlight” is in relation to YA/Teen Services. This could also be what your YA patrons see as their “Internet Spotlight” or it could be anything related to YA’s or YA services and the internet. You know, a web site and online activity, whatever you observe as a spotlight subject. It’s really open ended and can be factual or opinionated (both are useful). A paragraph is a nice length, but more or less works well too.

So, tell me, what is your YA/Teen Services “Internet Spotlight”???

Thanks!

PS-This is due to our editor in 10 days.

Libraryman

Big Announcement

It is party time ‘round Libraryman way my friends! And it’s a community party, which means that you are invited (see the next to last paragraph of this blog post for you invitation details). At this party, you get to tell me a story or two…..and I get to write. A book. For ALA Editions!
Libraryman Celebrates
While I’m bursting to tell you about my first book deal ever, Jenni Fry, Editor at ALA Editions tells the story in a much calmer and more reasonable voice:
“At Midwinter (2007) in Seattle, no fewer than three people sought me out, one even stopping me on the street, to tell me that “Michael Porter’s got an idea” for a book. Never one to be too slow on the uptake, I made sure to talk with him at a reception we were both attending. Several conversations and one contract later, I’m thrilled to say that Michael (aka Libraryman) will be writing for us.

Just what is this big idea, you say? Michael will be interviewing and gathering stories from individuals and institutions that have become leaders in successful electronic community engagement. He will use these stories as the basis for real-world lessons that libraries can use to more effectively engage the communities they serve. The work will be many things: part historical snapshot of this transition period in library service, part motivational storytelling, part benchmarking, and part practical handbook.”

Of course, Jenni is being a generous friend and editor because as I remember the story, it was I who tracked her down, two minute book pitch/elevator speech on the tip of my eager tongue. Regardless of how it happened, they did actually sign the contract so it is now legal and everything. In fact, I’ve taken a couple of stabs at an intro. Here’s one that is close:

“This is a book about effective and practical electronic community engagement. It is a book bursting with valuable, moving, entertaining, exciting and often times unusual stories and ideas. The stories all have lessons that center on people engaging with electronic community in ways that make the players more human. Each centrally themed collection of stories concludes with lessons learned, ideas and action items you can put to use in your library, business or personal life.”

I hope you like it, ‘cause unless the ALA folks say no, that’s how the book will go.
Now I get to thank a few folks that made this happen and then I’ll give you the official Michael Porter invitation to the party. Here goes:
Thanks to Jenni Fry and Patrick Hogan at ALA Editions for making this happen.
A whole slew of thank you’s to Chrystie Hill, who has a book coming out very soon herself and who also really helped align the stars that spelled out Y E S to this book proposal.
Also, thanks to Janie Hermann, who unbeknownst to me, also smiled upon this project.

The biggest thanks however go to the audience for and major subject matter of the book, that is, the inspirational and motivational colleagues I am blessed to know and work with. Does it crack anybody else up that simply thanking all the Jennifers’, Davids’, Michaels’ and Karens’ out there in Libraryland covers half of us?  Seriously though, thank you for helping to make this the most exciting time ever to work in libraries. This project will succeed because of you. Which leads me to your invitation to the party!

Your invitation:
This is my first public request for both library and NON-LIBRARY stories of community engagement. If you have had a story the has sprung to life from a single, or series of electronic community building tools and would be willing to share, please let me know so others can learn from it in this book! The more dramatic, intense, moving, informative, useful, practical and entertaining are obviously desirable. However, the beauty of subtlety is appreciated here as well. Even sending a one or two paragraph summary of a noteworthy community engagement story in your life could be a genuinely helpful inclusion in the book. So please think about your stories and consider sharing them with this book’s future audience. You can e-mail them to me at: michael.libraryman at sign gmail.com

I have some good content, substantial ideas and leads already, BUT we really need lots of stories like the ones described above from all over. In fact, they do not have to come from just library staffers. Non-library stories of electronic community engagement will make up the majority of those exemplified and examined in this book. That means if you have friends or family with stories that could enhance this book, I would LOVE to hear them!

Finally, this is my first book deal, so I am especially excited. I believe there is real benefit for Libraryland in the subject matter and approach here, which makes the project really pop for me as a librarian, practical tech advocate and author. But frankly, I don’t plan on trying to write a huge number of books. That means I truly believe in the idea and will work hard to make this useful, practical and helpful for us all. So for me, it is a big deal. And while it is a very happy project with lots of interesting work in store, I would like to end this announcement by thanking my dear grandma, Irene Porter-Baer. Grandma passed a way a few years ago but she was always one of my best friends, closest allies and strongest champions. I wouldn’t have been able to attend college or grad school without her help, so this opportunity would not have come to pass without her. I miss her and think of her often. I also try my best to make a proud legacy for her with my work. It is just another motivation to make this book be the best I can make it for us all. So either in the books’ introduction or conclusion I will thank you folks in Libraryland, and I will also thank my inspirational grandma that I owe a huge part of this current opportunity to.

Now please send me your stories of electronic community engagement, people! 

ALA Editions Book Deal Blog Post
PS-I’ll bet my editors are quaking in fear the the entire book will be as turgid as this blog post. Hey, at least I used the word “turgid”! :) <–Note to self, no emoticons in the book.

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